How do you get to a restaurant? Usually you’d drive or maybe take a taxi. On a lake or at the ocean, you might even take a boat to get to dinner. Ever take a tram?
The only way to get to the High Finance restaurant atop Sandia Peak – short of hiking or coming up on a ski lift during winter – is by aerial tramway. The tram takes about 15 minutes and travels 2.7 miles while it lifts you over 4000 feet to the 10, 378 foot summit of Sandia Peak. Call for restaurant reservations first and the tram ride will cost you $10 per person instead of the usual $15 ($12 seniors, $10 kids). Be sure to ask about the best time for sundown views.
Although skiers may find the ride about as exciting as riding an escalator, most people think it’s pretty exciting. Trams hold about 50 people and may be packed tight. For best views on the ride, either put yourself at the front or rear of the boarding line. If you’re first, you can pick where you’d like to stand. If last, simply turn around when the door closes behind you. People uncomfortable with the whole idea of dangling 1000 feet or so off the ground in a big box attached to a wire seem to land in the middle of the car and study the floor carefully.
If weather permits, plan on allowing some time for a stroll around the summit. Remember it’s likely to be much cooler and windier than at the base, however. Check the summit wind and temperature at the tram ticket area to make sure you’ll be dressed properly.
Usually restaurants like this sell the view and serve mediocre food, but our meals were very good. People at a nearby table all had a vegetarian eggplant dish and were so pleased that we almost tried it as well, but eventually we settled on old standbys fettucini primavera ($16) and filet mignon ($26). For salads, soups, appetizers and desserts, all add $4 to $9 more.